Music Therapy Helps Reduce Anxiety for Mesothelioma Patients

Among the symptoms and side effects of a mesothelioma diagnosis, anxiety and depression can be the most difficult to accept and manage. Even after physical pain and symptoms subside, quality of life for mesothelioma patients is often compromised by uncontrolled anxiety. In recent years, with the widespread acknowledgement of complimentary cancer treatments, studies and reports of the benefits of music therapy are growing. Recorded music has been proven to improve such ailments as pain, anxiety, depression, and nausea. Mesothelioma attorneys highlight the potential for complimentary cancer therapies that can prove to be beneficial.

Music therapy is provided by professional musicians who are also trained to select proper tempo, rhythm, and volume to maximize therapeutic benefits. Typically, therapists hold music therapy graduate degrees, and are able to integrate clinical and psychological factors into their treatments. Therapists engage patients and family members in live music experiences, which often include songwriting, singing, and improvisation methods.

Studies examining music therapy are finding that it is particularly effective in patients undergoing surgery and in palliative care settings. Mesothelioma itself and its treatment have profound effects on victims because of its poor prognosis and evasive nature. Depression and anxiety affect not only the patient’s well-being, but often affects the effectiveness of treatment and prolongs the duration of hospital stays. One recent study by the University of Kentucky observed the benefits of music therapy in surgery patients.

The study acknowledged that anxiety and uncontrolled pain can negatively affect outcomes of surgeries. In efforts to relieve these ailments, studies suggest that, during the surgery, music interventions are effective in reducing pain perception, anxiety, and sedative intake. The majority of studies observed by the University’s team involved post-operative music therapy aiming to reduce pain and recovery time. Researchers found that patients exposed to music during and after operations recovered more quickly and satisfactorily, required less sedatives, and reported more approval with their operations.

Another study by Duke University examined the benefits of palliative care music therapy. This experiment involved twenty-five participants with advanced terminal illnesses in hospice care who were exposed to a single music therapy intervention. Their results demonstrated significant patient reduction in anxiety, pain, tiredness, and drowsiness. The study also mentioned numerous other expert findings in this vein, including over 160 music therapy and palliative care citations, 88 clinical reports, and 23 experimental studies. Results in many of these studies were equally significant, finding that pain control, physical comfort, and relaxation were all effectively increased.

Professional music therapy sessions usually last between 20 and 40 minutes and are comprised of methods chosen by the therapist after consulting with the patient. Therapy techniques include playing live familiar music, reminiscence, singing, imagery, music-assisted counseling, and listening to pre-determined recorded music. Although music therapy can be administered in a variety of settings and forms, it is highly recommended that those seeking music intervention also meet with a certified music therapist. Data shows that professionally-selected music is most effective.

Music therapy can be either passive (listening via headphones) or active (engaging with a credited therapist), and no former musical experience is necessary for active therapies. The American Music Therapy Association’s website has an array of material available for anyone curious about this mode of treatment. Therapists are often members of interdisciplinary cancer treatment teams, serving as experts to help physicians identify effective treatment strategies.

Research attests to the efficacy of music therapy even in those resistant to alternative or complimentary treatments. It can be used to address psychological, physical, cognitive, or social functioning for all patients of all ages and disabilities. It is non-invasive, non-pharmaceutical, and completely safe. There are more than 70 approved music therapy programs nationwide, so finding a certified therapist in your area should not be difficult.

Mesothelioma attorneys at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm understand that music therapy may be part of a comprehensive treatment strategy. If you or someone you love is suffering from mesothelioma or an asbestos-related illness, you have important legal rights, and should contact an experienced asbestos attorney today for a free legal consultation.

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